Unsurprisingly, beer sales data for the first quarter of 2020 are not impressive — in fact, sales were down 7.2% to 1.5 billion pints, the lowest level on record according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
The fall was entirely down to beer sales in pubs and bars, down 16.4% on the first quarter of 2019 to a record low of 668 million pints.
The trade association is calling on the government to ‘Get Britain Brewing Again’ by giving the UK’s beer and pub sector a clear, definitive pathway to re-opening from 4th July, as indicated in the government’s roadmap for recovery.
BBPA chief executive, Emma McClarkin, said: “These stark figures reveal how the lockdown is having a devastating impact on our world class breweries and pubs. The cliff-edge impact on our sector, when people were told to stop going to the pub and then when they were shut down, is clear to see.
“Overall beer sales for the first quarter of this year are at their lowest since our records began. Pubs saw a 16.4% drop in beer sales alone for the quarter, driven solely by the sudden closure of pubs and impact of two weeks of zero sales. We are urging the government to get Britain brewing again now and re-open our pubs from 4th July.
“To do this, our sector needs at least three weeks’ notice so that our breweries can brew fresh beer and our pubs can get ready to re-open safely. That means the government must confirm by 13th June that pubs can definitely re-open on 4th July, as indicated in their roadmap for unlocking the economy.”
She added: “Our pubs and breweries are desperately in need of this clarity. Beer sales were at a record low in the first quarter of this year, so it’s imperative we get brewing our beer again and re-open pubs as soon as possible. This will help save pubs from permanent closure, allowing them to start to get back on their feet and protect the vital local jobs pubs and breweries support across the UK.”